We picked up another win last night, for our fourth win in six bets this week. Instead of backing an underdog like we usually do, last night we found a spot where the favorite was grossly undervalued, so we laid a little wood and picked up the free money. The play was backing the Atlanta Braves, on the road against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Braves were starting Dallas Keuchel, who in the last five or six weeks has looked like a Cy Young candidate, and Zach Eflin, the Phillies starter, had been inconsistent all season long and had gotten hammered by the Braves earlier this season. Throw in the fact that the Braves were fourteen games better than the Phillies in the standings, and it felt like this game could have been as high as Atlanta -200. So, when I saw it at just -129, I jumped all over it.
And the game went almost exactly as planned. Keuchel was dominant once again. Last night he pitched six innings, allowing just one run on only three hits. And Eflin didn’t even make it out of the fourth inning, as he got blasted early for three earned runs. The Braves won the game going away, and we picked up the easy money.
For Atlanta, the Braves are chasing the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the National League and made up some ground yesterday on the boys in blue as the Dodgers inexplicitly lost to the Baltimore Orioles. If Keuchel continues to pitch at this elite level, the Braves need to be considered a serious World Series threat.
For Philly, the loss really hurt as they are now two games back of four different teams for the second and final wild-card spot in the NL. Philly has to find a way to win a bunch of games down the stretch, and right now, that doesn’t look all that likely. For today’s bet, we will check in on one of those teams the Phillies are chasing as the Milwaukee Brewers are in Miami, looking for the sweep against the Marlins.
The Miami Marlins host the Milwaukee Brewers today in game four of a four-game series, hoping to stave off the sweep. The Brewers have dominated this series thus far as they have taken the first three games of the set and need to find a way to finish off the Marlins today in the series finale.
While the Brewers have won the battles of this series, they have likely lost the war, as superstar Christian Yelich fouled a ball off of his leg earlier in this series, breaking his kneecap, and ending his season. Milwaukee is trying to find a way to win without him, as they are currently tied with the Chicago Cubs for the second wild card in the NL and still have a lot to play for this season.
For Miami, the Marlins haven’t done a lot of winning all season long, and in September, they are just 3-7. The Marlins have just fifty-one wins this year, that is eleven fewer wins than another other National League team. It wouldn’t at all be a stretch to say this is the worst team in the league, by a wide margin.
Starting for the Brewers is Gio Gonzalez (2-2 3.98 ERA), and for the Marlins it is Caleb Smith (8-9 4.11 ERA). The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. The Brewers are -133 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 AM PST from Marlins Park in Miami.
The loss of Christian Yelich basically ended the Brewers chances of winning the World Series this year. They were long shots with the best player in the league healthy, and now that he is out, you can expect the Brewers to come up short of making the Fall Classic. But that doesn’t mean they can’t find a way to sneak into the playoffs and cause some damage.
Of all the teams chasing the wild card in the NL, the Brewers have been playing the best recently. They have won six straight games, and eight out of their last ten. And when you look ahead to the final couple of weeks of the season, the Brewers schedule lays out nicely as they have a tough series against the first-place St. Louis Cardinals next, but after that, they play the Padres, Pirates, Reds, and Rockies, all teams that are well out of playoff contention. If this team can find a way to score runs without Yelich’s big bat in the heart of their lineup, they have a very real shot of making the playoffs.
Gio Gonzalez has been used kind of like a hybrid opener/starter this year for Milwaukee. He starts games, but rarely do they leave him in the game for all that long. But that is the case for a lot of this Brewers rotation, as they like to turn things over to the bullpen at the first sign of distress. We have seen that with Gio as he has pitched five innings or less in seven straight starts.
But when you look at his results, they have been mostly good. He has had a couple of rough outings, but in five out of his last seven starts, he has allowed one run or fewer. He has faced the hard-hitting Chicago Cubs twice this month and has pitched a combined eight innings, allowing just one run on only two hits. If he can do that against the Cubs, how will he look today against a Marlins team that is dead last in the majors in home runs and slugging percentage, and second to last in runs scored?
Caleb Smith is in a weird spot with the Miami Marlins. They are early on in a multiyear rebuild, and at twenty-eight years old, he will likely be past his prime once Miami has a team that can win games. So, he isn’t really part of their long-term plans, but he also isn’t doing much to win games in the short term. And that is a little sad for Smith, as he actually has decent stuff, but unless he finds a way out of Miami, he will likely finish out his prime pitching in meaningless games like this one.
Smith was really struggling before finding his best stuff in his last start. In his last start, he pitched six innings of shutout ball against the Kansas City Royals. Before that, he has allowed at least five runs in four of his previous five starts. In those four starts, he pitched a combined twenty and two-thirds of an innings and got blasted for twenty-two runs.
Since August 1st, Smith has given up eleven home runs and walked eighteen batters in just seven starts. It is very hard to win games when you are handing out lots of free passes and giving up lots of home runs. Not shockingly, the Marlins are just 1-6 in his last seven starts.
This is a mismatch. The fact that Christian Yelich is out hurts the Brewers, but to see this number even close to a tight one is shocking. The Brewers are a whopping twenty-six games better than the Marlins this year. This line stinks of the public massively overreacting to Yelich not being on the field.
This is a similar situation to yesterday’s bet where we backed a favorite that was grossly underpriced. This line could easily be forty or fifty points higher. So, I will take advantage of the overreaction of the public, and back the Brewers this morning as small favorites. Give me the Milwaukee Brewers at -133 today in the series finale from Miami!